In 2017, Schapelle Corby was released from prison after 9 years. Now she might be engaged.

On May 28, 2017, Schapelle Corby arrived back on Australian soil after spending almost a decade in Bali’s Kerobokan Prison.

Over 12 years prior in 2005, the Queensland woman was convicted of smuggling 4.2kg of cannabis into Bali in her bodyboard bag.

From the moment she was charged with importing cannabis, imprisoned and ordered to stand trial, the case of Schapelle Corby quickly became Australia’s national fixation.

And even today, more than 14 years on from Corby’s sentencing, the case continues to divide Australians.

Schapelle Corby speaks to Kyle and Jackie O amid her return to Australia in 2017. Post continues after video.

What did Schapelle Corby do?

Schapelle Corby first made headlines in October 2004 when she was caught carrying 4.2kg of cannabis at Denpasar’s Ngurah Rai Airport after flying from Brisbane to Bali with her brother and two friends.

At the time of her arrest, Corby denied putting the cannabis wrapped in a double plastic vacuum-sealed bag in her unlocked bodyboard bag. She also claimed that she had no knowledge of the drugs until the bag was opened by customs officials.

“I just saw plastic and thought, ‘This isn’t supposed to be here. I didn’t put it there’,” the then-27-year-old told reporters.

“I shouldn’t be here. So I’m just trying to be strong and I’m just lucky that I’ve got a really good family and friends to help me get through.”

After being imprisoned and ordered to stand trial over the importation of the drugs, Corby’s trial first began in January 2005.

From the moment it started, every single move Corby and her family made was covered by the Australian media, as the public became more and more fascinated with the case.

The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss Australia’s ongoing fascination with women in prison. Post continues after podcast.


Although the defence claimed that the drugs had been planted in Corby’s luggage by a criminal syndicate of baggage handlers, the panel of judges presiding over the case soon determined that the evidence simply didn’t stack up and by May 2005, Corby was sentenced.

Standing before the judges, Corby broke down in tears as she was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The verdict was broadcast nationwide and viewed by thousands of Australians. Just hours after the news was shared, then Prime Minister John Howard expressed his sorrow, telling media: “If she is guilty I feel for her, that a tragic mistake and tragic act has done so much damage to her young life. If she is innocent, my feelings for her are redoubled.”

During her time in prison, Corby was hospitalised twice for mental health issues.

“Mental illness is real and there were a lot of people who accused me of faking it – you can’t fake that,” Corby told The Sunday Telegraph in a new interview.

“It’s so amazing that I’m actually here. I did not think I would actually be able to leave – like I would die in there,” she added.

“I’m still adjusting two years later.”


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Been a rough-trot. Better now. ???? #turbulent #10yearchallenge #????

A post shared by Schapellecorby (@schapelle.corby) on


In the years after her conviction, Corby and her family maintained her innocence and launched a number of appeals.

In April 2012, then Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono granted Corby clemency due to mental illness, cutting five years off her prison term.

Two years later, in February 2014, Corby was granted parole. Under the conditions, she had to report to the Bali Corrections Board once a month, meaning she had to stay in the home of her brother-in-law at the time, Wayan Widyartha, who had been married to Corby’s sister Mercedes.

What does Schapelle Corby’s life look like?

In May 2017, over a decade on from her arrest, Schapelle Corby returned to Australia.

Now, two years on from her return home, the 42-year-old is reportedly residing on the Gold Coast.

In an interview with Woman’s Day last year, Corby shared that she currently isn’t working but instead spends her time swimming at home in the pool and at her local beach and reading.


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#sunset with this Lovely . . My Mumma ❤ . . #QLD can you guess where?

A post shared by Schapellecorby (@schapelle.corby) on


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Sisters ❤ Beautiful strong women – tag your sister – ???????????? #trouble ????

A post shared by Schapellecorby (@schapelle.corby) on


“I just live day by day,” she said.

“I’m just happy to be alive. I’m going to cry… I’m just so happy to be alive.”

Corby is still dating Ben Panangian, who she first met in 2006 at a church service in prison. Panagian was also serving time for drug-related offences.

In November 2019, Corby hinted the couple were engaged when she shared images of herself wearing a diamond ring on her ring finger.

She did not confirm Panangian had proposed, but responded to a comment pointing out she was wearing a beautiful ring.

“I think so too,” she said.


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Days are better with you in my life. Happy 2nd Birthday #Lucille • who is your Favourite Author • what are you reading now ?

A post shared by Schapellecorby (@schapelle.corby) on


schapelle corby engaged
Image: Instagram/schapelle.corby.

Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Corby opened up about her relationship with her boyfriend of 13 years.

"I'm very lucky to have found Ben in such dismal circumstances," she told the publication in an exclusive interview.

"He's been in my life before mental illness, so he knows what I was like beforehand, he knew me during and he knows me now and he still apparently loves me and I believe he really does love me."

As Corby hasn't yet returned to Bali, the pair instead meet up overseas for holidays. They also hope to have kids in the future.



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He is my Four Leaf clover ; hard to find & lucky to have ???? Tag Your Four Leaf Clover ????

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Earlier this year, Corby also got her drivers licence. Under Queensland law, you are required to pass a practical and written test to regain your driver licence if it is expired for over five years.

After returning to Australia, Corby also set up an Instagram account, where she now has over 168,000 followers.


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Everyone likes a Pelican ???? Australia ???? #stormgirl

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"It's good for me to have it because I get to stick up for myself," she told Woman's Day last year.

"When I broke my leg, obviously I had to go to hospital, and there was a paparazzi following me," she explained.

"Instead of him getting paid for it I could just put it online myself."

Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Corby shared that the constant presence of the paparazzi in her life means finding a job is difficult.

"I can't go and work in a shop – it just causes havoc," she said.

"There's no way."

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